The Impact of Web 3.0 on Marketing
Lai Ee Na
Lim Li Fen Adelyn
Mohammad Mahdhir Bin Mustaffa
Siew Hui Fen
Nanyang Technological University
A6301 Communication, Technology & Society
November 8, 2011
What is Web 3.0?
The future of the Internet is in Web 3.0, known as the Semantic Web. Feigenbaum, Herman, Hongsermeier, Neumann and Stephens (2007) summarised the concept as “a highly interconnected network of data that could be easily accessed and understood by any desktop or handheld machine”. The authors, referring to a 2001 article by Berners-Lee, Hendler and Lassila about their vision on Web 3.0, also said Berners-Lee et al: painted a future of intelligent software agents that would head out on the World Wide Web and automatically book flights and hotels for our trips, update our medical records and give us a single, customized answer to a particular question without our having to search for information or pore through results.
This means online sites and databases already contain information about individuals’ culture, travel, health and education. In Web 3.0, individuals’ habits and preferences are known. The technology of Web 3.0 is ‘smart’ in using the data to drill down key choices to individuals, thereby saving Web 3.0 users time and effort in searching for information and in making decisions. Web 3.0 is however not a product separate from its previous ‘incarnations’. Instead, it is an extension or an enhancement of the current Web. The World Wide Web Consortium has already released Semantic Web technologies and languages for the different sites and databases to ‘talk’ and generate results in a unified manner for Web users. In contrast, Web 1.0 was just about linking Web pages with hyperlinks. Web 2.0 is where we are now—the consumer and producer of information are increasingly the same person, sharing views and new ideas with fellow netizens (sometimes anonymously). Web 3.0 is the “convergence of new technologies and rapidly changing consumer buying trends”, having overcome some of Web 2.0’s limiting factors such as presenting the audience with too much information, which Tasner (2010) argues, distracts us. Advertising has accordingly evolved from placements in newspapers, magazines, radio, signs and from the 1930s, on television. When the Internet came to wide use in industrialised societies in the mid-1990s, marketers advertised online through banners or interstitials (among others) and refined their search engine optimisation so the brands’ Web links appear at the top of search results.
Functions of Web 3.0
Although Web 3.0 is not widely utilized, the technology is already in use (Ohler, 2010). Smith (2009) speaks of Web 3.0 as sophisticated, intelligent software that can learn, understand and make decisions. For example, Web 3.0 can trace online materials, analyze the popularity of content and draw conclusions. It will filter and refine the users’ online searches. This idea is also echoed by Reh (2011), who says Web 3.0 will be able to extract feedback on products, services or organizations that have been posted on blogs and online forums, for example. Organizations can then develop Web pages specifically aligned with their customers’ needs (Reh, 2011). This saves time and cost for the organization. The norm is that an organization would track online traffic by the number or pattern of clicks on its website and get feedback from surveys in order to predict what its customers want. Web 3.0 will empower marketers by allowing them to target products and create specific marketing messages for particular customers more intuitively. Advertising might turn out to be less effective and marketers will need to rely on their merits and not on what they claim (Smith, 2009). In an article by Baumann (2009), Nova Spivack, founder and CEO of Radar Networks views Web 3.0 as an upgrade of Web infrastructure. He says the focus will be on the back-end of the Web, where final processing of the data occurs. An upgrade of the databases and data stores will increase efficiency and make searches faster. Time-consuming tasks such as searching and compiling currently done by netizens will eventually be taken over by computers in the future. Web 3.0 applications will have the capacity to run on any device, be it a computer or the mobile phone. These applications will be speedy and customizable (Cho, 2008).
For the purpose of this research paper, we will be adopting the Co-creation method as the theoretical framework. According to Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004), it is the process whereby consumers take an active role and co-create value together with the company. With the impending rise of Web 3.0, the framework has provided companies with unique and inventive opportunities to capitalise on consumers’ innovative potential. This has resulted in various approaches to collaborate with consumers during the entire value chain. Most often co-creation occurs during the innovation process, referring to joint product development activities such as generating and evaluating new product ideas; elaborating, evaluating, or challenging product concepts; and creating virtual prototypes (Fueller, Matzler, Stieger, & Kohler, 2011). Cost-efficient and multimedia-rich interaction opportunities offered by the Internet and the existence of online communities have made virtual co-creation a suitable means of creating value and improving the overall success of new products. Information technology enables new forms of producer-consumer collaboration in new product development processes (Fuller, Muhlbacher, Matzler, & Jawecki, 2009). With Web 3.0, social interaction drives business operations (Laurent, 2010). We infer that marketers will take advantage of this because a Web 3.0 browser would have learned a customer’s likes and dislikes. The more interaction a user has with the Internet, the more the browser would learn about him/her to predict future behaviours and consumption patterns, putting the user in touch with people who share his/her interests and aspirations (Kumar, 2009). Consumer co-creation, in which consumers participate creatively in the production of content and innovation of services, has arisen because of consumers’ greater access to the “means of production” through information and communication technologies (Lundvall and Johnson, 1994). It aligns to the shift from producer-centric to consumer-centric innovation. Consumers are not just engaging in production, but also in dynamic production, or innovation (Potts, 2008). This is facilitated by the same forces that are increasingly delivering productive capabilities into the hands of consumers,...